_Hedi Slimane brings back to life Céline Vipiana’s avantgarde

  • Founded in Paris in 1945 by Céline Vipiana (1915-1997) and her husband Richard as a little made-to-measure shoe service for children located in 52, rue de Malte, Céline has now become one of the most successful and powerful luxury fashion houses in the world.

    Bought by French Entrepreneur Bernard Arnault in 1987 and fully part of his leading LVMH group since 1996, the Parisian brand is really blossoming since 2018, the year of the arrival of its new Artistic Director, the talented French Fashion Designer Hedi Slimane. For the 76-years-old brand based in 16, rue Vivienne since November 2014, a new exciting and disruptive era has just started. Céline has become Celine.

  • If Céline Vipiana is probably less famous than Mademoiselle Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, she is unquestionably one of the few lucky Female Entrepreneur and Founders who made history in the Fashion Industry during the 19th century. As their peers before her, she was a pionner. 

    In 1945, just after the second World War ended, at the dawn of her 30years- she was born in 1915-, together with her husband Richard, she opened a small business: a made-to-measure shoe service for children located in 52, rue de Malte in the 11th arrondissement. She named it as her Christian name, Céline and chose a red elephant designed by illustrator Raymond Peynet as the first logo.

    Success came quickly: in 1948, Mrs & Mr. Vipiana were the happy owners of several shops located all around the city. From manufacturing high quality shoes for children, to please the request of some of their wealthy female clients, the couple started to create women’s footwear collections.

    In the early 1960s, Céline V. who has undeniably a good taste and, above all, a good nose for business launched her first line of leather goods and accessories.  In 1964, the first ever perfume of the brand called “Vent Fou” landed on the market as well as in 1968, the first ready-to-wear collection. 


  • Everything proceeded quickly. In the 1970s, Céline was a growing Fashion House leaded by an ambitious and picky businesswoman on a mission: To spread, all over the place, her sophisticated and minimal Parisian Chic style thanks to a unique savoir-faire and an innovative vision.

  • Reptile Céline Paris

    Reptile Céline Paris

  • Her little empire in progress became the property of French Entrepreneur Bernard Arnault in 1987 and then, in 1996, a part of the leading LVMH group, a collection of 75 distinguished Houses rooted in six different sectors. 

    Even she wasn’t the owner anymore, Céline stayed in charge of the artistic direction until 1997, the year she passed away. American Fashion Designer Mickael Kors was the first to take over. It was not easy but he made it and stayed until 2004. After him, Italian Roberto Menichetti (2004-2006) and Croatian Ivana Omazic (2006-2008) tried their best but regrettably, the house went through a bad time and gradually lose its identity. Fortunately, in 2008, British Phoebe Philo reconnected with the original and free spirit of the founder: her first collection S/S 2010 was a huge success. Céline was finally back in the game.

  • Reptile Céline Paris

    Reptile Céline Paris

  • As she has big plans for the Maison, literately reborn from its ashes, she decided to look for a new big home and chose the perfect one:  l’Hôtel Colbert de Torcy, an historic building raised in 1653. After the renovation- she personally supervised- in November 2014, Céline’s headquarter (office, atelier and showroom) moved to its new address : 16, rue de Vivienne. 

  • © Céline

    © Céline

  • Unexpectedly, in January 2018, Philo quitted after a decade spent on board: Her ‘reign’ has been both productive and profitable. She has reread in a modern way the house’s basics. And she has certainly brought it into the third millennium. By using modern tools and a younger language. But first of all, by innovating, as she did by choosing an unexpected testimonial for her campaign S/S 2015: the over 80-years-old American Writer Joan Didion. The latter went for sure not unnoticed and at the contrary, was even duplicated by others.

    In her wake, French Fashion Designer Hedi Slimane, former Creative Director of Dior (2000-2007) and Yves Saint-Laurent (2012-2016) and new Artistic Director in charge since February 2018, has brought a flush of oxygen and new and disruptive ideas to build a brilliant future. The first revolutionary and surprising move he did was to remove the accent from Céline: Céline is indeed no more Céline but Celine. Since his arrival, Slimane is a very busy captain on board: As he has an inclusive vision of what the Maison deserves to be, he supervises everything: ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, perfume, boutique. He works hard, every single day, to pay tribute at 360° to the one-of-a-kind heritage of Mrs Vipiana. 

    2019 was a true year of Renaissance for Celine. Slimane has started to write a new exciting chapter of the house’s saga. While preserving its DNA, he has gradually imposed his own signature aesthetic. 

    In February, on the occasion of the opening of a new boutique located at 650, Madison Avenue in the heart of New-York, he officially launched the new architectural and store design concept he has specially designed. 

    On 2nd of November of the same year, the first haute parfumerie boutique located in Paris at 390 rue de Saint-Honoré was opened. This Parisian little temple of perfume is a timeless place furnished with elegance mixed with an arty touch. 

    Slimane is a prolific mind. In September 2019, he reimagined and relaunched the Triomphe Canvas, the couture house’s historic monogram inspired by the chain encircling the Arc de Triomphe which first debuted in 1972. 

    And as he never runs out of ideas, it’s a safe bet to imagine more and more prolific surprises coming very soon.  As well as the romantic idea of the Celine Parade (F/W 2021-22) which was  showcased on March 2021, in the middle of the pandemic of Covid-19, in the emblematic and first ever French Gardens of château de Vaux-Le-Vicomte designed in 1656 by André Le Nôtre, principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France.

    Slimane is definitively the right one for the job. The one who is able to bring to life Céline Vipiana’s avantgarde and one-of-a-kind Heritage. Celine is in good hands for sure. 


    by Hélène Battaglia - Photos © Celine

Recent news